Maputo — Malema (Mozambique), 15 Oct (AIM) - Construction is under way on the final stretch of the highway connecting Nampula city and Cuamba, the economic capital of Niassa province, in northern Mozambique.
This stretch runs for about 111 kilometres, and so far 10 kilometres have been paved.
The entire Nampula-Cuamba highway is 350 kilometres long, and work on it started in 2012. The first two stretches, between Nampula and Malema, were concluded in 2014, leaving 111 kilometres to be paved.
The lack of meaningful progress by the Portuguese contractor "Gabriel Couto" forced the government to terminate the contract and open a tender to find another company to complete the job.
The Minister of Public Works, Joao Machatine, who on Wednesday assessed the work on the ground, was happy with the pace of construction, and expected the contractual deadline to be met.
"We noted fund raising is still under way. The contractor has to allocate more equipment so that work occurs simultaneously on several fronts," Machatine said, adding that 25 million Euros (about 29.2 million US dollars) are available for finishing the job and will be disbursed by the European Union (EU). If there is no shortcoming, the financing agreement will be signed by the end of the year.
In addition to ensuring the normal pace of the work as prescribed in the contract documents, it is the contractor's duty and responsibility to ensure accessibility along the road, even throughout the rainy season. Therefore, the bridge over Mutivaze river must be given priority, stressed the Minister.
The government, Machatine said, is demanding full compliance with the contract documents and also hopes the following three weeks will be decisive as far as bringing in additional equipment addition is concerned so that from November the pace can be quickened.